Or, how about being stuck in the Suez Canal, wedged in there sideways, blown around by the wind even though you weigh 220,000 tons and you're nearly a quarter mile long? That' pretty bad when you can't manage to navigate a straight line in a canal that is nearly a thousand feet wide at it's narrowest point. Imagine being stuck and causing such a backup on the Beltway, with 20,000 containers of groceries in your car and 367 truck drivers calling down curses and questioning your family heritage. Can you imagine being stuck for the whole weekend? Unthinkable.
As you've probably heard, the Ever Given has been set free from her near catastrophe, checked for damage, and will likely continue her voyage soon. And the costly bottleneck on the Suez will clear in a few days perhaps, and the investigations will be conducted. Someone, perhaps the captain or pilot, will have to face the music for this whole episode, unless the authorities chalk the whole thing up to "an act of God," a curious phrase in this largely unbelieving world.
We don't envy the captain of the Ever Given. We wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now, but the truth is, we've all been there and done that. We've been stuck a time or two in our lives, sometimes because of our own bonehead moves, sometimes through no real fault of ours, but when the horns are blaring and our fiasco is there for all to see and other people are paying a price for our mistake, it's a bad feeling, one of the worst.
Setting the enormous Ever Given free took some serious digging. Heavy equipment was brought in to dig out the bow and stern on opposite sides of the canal. A mere 706,000 cubic feet of sand had to be removed. Ten tugboats were standing by but still helpless to move the behemoth. Then nature intervened. What finally did the trick was the rising tide, a spring tide, sometimes called a King tide, that swept in and hoisted the massive ship on to the waves once more. Amazing really. Nature, unimpressed by the Ever Given's colossal dimensions, swept it away like a sandcastle.
When you and I get stuck in life, publicly or privately, we can do our best to dig ourselves out. We can call in favors and friends to help, but what sets us free is almost always the tide, the rising tide, the irresistible tide of grace that seeps down to the depths and lifts us from the muck and the mire. We rise with the tide, thank God. For it is by grace we have been saved, unstuck, and set free.